Workshop in African Studies
Fri, April 17, 2009 • 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM • John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (JES A232) - ISESE Gallery
The Ethnicity of Empire: British and Scottish Struggles to Control the Supply of Emigrants to Southern Africa at the turn of the Century The historiography of empire is rich with studies that look at empire from many angles including, most recently, women, gender and imperialism. In the process of doing research for another project, I came across material that changed my perspective on issues of empire. Among many other issues that the primary source material raised is how there is very little research done on the dynamics of the ethnicity of Europeans who went to the African colonies. This – still in progress paper – looks at the issue of how Europeans contested ethnic differences both in the center and periphery of empire. My major argument in this paper is that often imperialism is presented as a monolithic "white" empire as though there were no real differences not only of opinion, but of "race," "tribe," and "clan" among Europeans about themselves. Often, we only get to hear about Europeans' perceptions of African "tribes" but generally do not get a sense of how the colonized perceived European ethnicities, an oversight that assumes Africans did not know the difference between the different European ethnicities, because Africans were well…. In this research paper, I utilize the case study of colonial education in Southern Africa to shed light on how empire operated beyond the colonizer and colonized, and other paradigms we are all familiar with. How was life in the colonies more complicated than what we know to date?